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Atlanta of Josef Martínez to defend the title against Toronto

The MLS Cup champion, the Atlanta United, with the Venezuelan striker Josef Martínez, líder, is again in the final of the Eastern Conference that this Wednesday will play against Toronto FC, which will have the Spanish midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo as a franchise player.

Atlanta, led by Dutchman Frank De Boer, starts as the big favorites after reaching the final without a goal being scored in the two playoff games they have played against the New England Revolution (1-0) and to the Philadelphia Union (2-0).

Once again, the home field factor has been decisive in the triumphs of Atlanta United, which have turned Mercedez-Benz Stadium into a true fortress that is very difficult for rival teams to overcome.

During the regular season, the current league champion, in his field achieved a record of 12-3-2 and among the triumphs was the one they achieved for the first time against Toronto FC (1-0), after having drawn in both previous games, in 2017 and 2018.

After having played six games between the two teams since they met in the MLS, the advantage is for Toronto FC with two wins, one loss and three draws.

But the Canadian team reaches the final of the Eastern Conference after having surprisingly achieved a 1-2 victory against New York City FC, which had the best record in the regular season, and had rested in the first round of the playoffs. .

Pozuelo, with a double, including the winning goal, which he scored from a penalty, in the 90th minute, has become the líder indisputable team, especially with the injury of Jozy Altidore, who could not play in the previous game and is questionable against Atlanta.

However, Toronto FC recovers Mexican American Omar González in defense, who was absent in the previous game due to injury.

The duel between Martínez, Golden Boot in the 2018 season, and 28 goals scored in 2019, despite having been out for a while due to injury, and Pozuelo (14) will be decisive in the outcome of a match in the that all forecasts give the current MLS champion as a favorite.

De Boer, who did not have an easy start in the transition from the more offensive game system established by the Argentine Gerardo "Tata" Martino, after overcoming an inconsistent start, little by little the team assimilated his style of greater pressure in the center of the field and with the German Julian Gressel, Darlington Nagbe and the Argentine Gonzalo "Pity" Martínez, they have been unstoppable.

"The confidence that the team gave me so that I could carry out my job has been the key that we have grown as groups and we reach the final confident that we can be back in the match for the defense of the title", declared De Boer. "It won't be an easy match, but as it happened to us against the Revolution and the Union we will go out to win."

The same objective brings the Toronto FC team, which knows that it arrives at Mercedes-Benz Stadium without being a favorite to win, but the same thing happened against New York City FC, at Yankee Stadium.

The coach of Toronto FC, Gregg Vanney, is aware of the great challenge that the team faces, but he fully trusts the way the team has responded in the final stretch of the tournament, with a midfield where the presence of Hispanics, Jonathan Osorio, and Marky Delgado together with the Japanese Tsubasa Endoh, has been decisive.

The Canadian team no longer depends only on the great experience of veteran Michael Bradley but also has quality and power with young talent.

"We have managed to form a very balanced team again, that we can beat any rival and therefore we arrived in Atlanta with that aspiration, although we are aware that we are going to face the MLS Cup champions and in their field," he said. vanney.


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